Leaking roof puts Meet Up in Thetford in jeopardy as youth clubs welcome record numbers

The Meet Up community centre in Thetford is one of three organisations in Breckland to have received

The Meet Up community centre in Thetford is one of three organisations in Breckland to have received a match-funding grant from the district council. Picture by Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Time is running out for a much-loved youth centre to fix its degrading roof after recent heavy rain put the structure in jeopardy.

Meet Up in Thetford was forced to cancel its second youth club of the new school term last Friday after torrential rain caused water to pour in through the ceiling in its hall and art room.

During its first session on Monday the centre – which has clubs for eight to 11 year olds and 12 to 16 year olds – had welcomed record numbers.

The centre on the Redcastle Furze estate, which is managed by the Benjamin Foundation, needs to raise around £30,000 to repair its roof and after six months of fundraising is still £10,000 short of its target.

Now the pressure is on to fill the funding gap in case the weather turns wet again – which centre manager Mike Towndrow believes could cause the roof to collapse.

He said: 'It looks like the roof is giving up the ghost and we have had a leak for the past couple of weeks which has got worse as the rain has been really heavy.

'The water has beaten us with the repairs. I think we have been fortunate in the amount of time we have had without it showing.

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'We have such a large number of young people coming, I cannot risk them running around on the streets.

'This term we have started opening it up to year fours for the first time, and on Monday we had well in excess of 50 young people for the younger club – normally we would have around 35.

'In total we would usually have about 50 to 60 – now we are taking 80 to 90 kids.

'The children were really disappointed when we told them on Friday that we could not open and the parents were disappointed as they feel the value of what we are doing here.'

Mr Towndrow has sent out letters to parents of club-goers and to supporters in the community asking for help to raise the extra money.

The centre is also accepting material donations such as wood, paint and cleaning products, and is appealing for any labourers who would be able to give their time to the building's maintenance.

You can pledge a donation to Meet Up on its UK Virgin Money Giving page at http://goo.gl/tYMFL4.